Back in 2005, the BBC published a list of songs which topped its wedding first dance songs poll. At this time – before the Spice Girls, One Direction and even before wedding favourite, Michael Bublé became a household name – Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do was in the number one spot.
The list, in fact, was made up of songs which weren’t released that year – or even in that decade; the most recent was a 1993 cover of Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart. Sandwiched in between these were The Carpenters’ Close To You, Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World and Elton John with Your Song. Fine tunes all of them, but would they make the grade ten years later? In a word, no.
15 first dance songs you will love
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
With lyrics including: ‘I will be loving you ‘til we’re 70’ and ‘Well, me, I fall in love with you every single day’, plus a video that shows Ed and professional dancer, Brittany Cherry, perform a sultry Rumba in a low-lit ballroom, could a song be any more perfect for that special first dance?
The song itself reached number one in 2014, so it’s a well-known and romantic choice. Given how light the musician is on his feet, it’s no surprise to learn that many couples have purposefully requested wedding dance lessons to copy Ed and Brittany’s smooth routine and impress their guests.
All Of Me – John Legend
All you need to know about this song is that the video ends with footage from John Legend’s real wedding to model, Chrissy Teigen, the end.
Okay, here’s a little more information: this beautiful song was inspired by Chrissy and the video is meant to represent the full circle of their relationship: dating, playing, arguing, then ultimately marriage. The slow (63 beats per minute) 4/4 composition makes it ideal for a gentle Foxtrot or Rumba.
Stay With Me – Sam Smith
Admittedly, while the melody is lovely and Sam’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful, this is a strange choice for a wedding song. To put it delicately, it’s not exactly about long term commitment: ‘This ain’t love, it’s clear to see’ and ‘Deep down I know this never works’ are two fairly indicative lyrics.
Nevertheless, it ranks high on the net among first dance songs. Again in 4/4 time, it has a gospel theme and would accommodate slow Latin styles, such as a basic Mambo or the Cha Cha Cha, plus you know everyone will be joining in with the chorus.
Marry You – Bruno Mars
This joyful song remains firmly among the top options for couples choosing their first wedding dance. Upbeat and happy, the song was supposed to embody a ‘crazy, daring, wedding feeling’ of a couple marrying in Las Vegas. The writers had no idea the power that the song would have.
Another 4/4 composition (punctuated by wedding bells) with a fast tempo means that newlyweds have a wide range of styles to pick from.
There’s no official video, but plenty of romantics have incorporated it in their wedding proposals – including amazing flash mobs (we defy you not to cry from 4:20 onwards). In an interview, the songwriters said they were almost in tears themselves when watching the many YouTube videos that happy couples had made.
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
Not a slow dance, this one. It starts gently, but then builds to a chorus of fast dance beats that is sure to get everyone jumping on the dancefloor. The Coldplay track, with typical dreamy sensitivity, describes how ‘I’m gonna give you my heart’ and ‘I wanna die in your arms’, because the object of their affection is the eponymous ‘sky full of stars’.
For those seeking an up-tempo, inclusive first dance – maybe those who are a little shy about being in the limelight – this is great choice as it really does encourage everyone to join in. This could well be the reason why it is so popular.